One Faith, Many Paths: Ron Martin

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1. You told me you weren’t always Christian. What led to your conversion?

I was messing around ,channeling demons and something very real and very evil went through me. I was Satanist in the tradition of Anton Levay. I did not believe in an actual literal devil. I saw him as as a symbol of liberation and freedom. Where as I saw the Christian God as a symbol of repression and ignorance. But that night I became convinced that there were supernatural forces at work and the one I encountered was malicious. I came to a saving knowledge of Christ within two weeks. So, literally, Satan Worship brought me to God (but I don’t recommend that path). It is just proof that God can use anything to draw others to him.

2. What is your favorite biblical verse and why?

 

Philippians 4:13. Because the very fact I am here today and in my right mind is proof I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I have been faced with schizophrenia, mental, physical and sexual abuse as well as various physical problems, but the strength our savior has given me has allowed me to persevere.

 

3. Who is your favorite biblical figure besides Jesus?

Ruth- her compassion for and loyalty towards Naomi really inspires me.

4. I know that you and I are both wrestling fans. What would you say to someone who says Christians shouldn’t endorse wrestling?

Some stuff in Wrestling is problematic, some is very positive (the good guy tends to win in the end and the bad guy gets his just deserts etc)

You treat wrestling like you would a piece of chicken. You eat the meat (the positive stuff) and spit out the bone (the negative stuff)
Continue reading “One Faith, Many Paths: Ron Martin”

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Sandman Retrospective Part 6: Fables and Reflections

A47102“Never trust the storyteller. Only trust the story.” 
Before I get into volume 6, I thought I’d explain why I’ve been posting these articles.
I am a huge Neil Gaiman fan. Many fans agree that Sandman is his best creation ever. (I’d also cite American Gods and Coraline) I’m also disappointed that the Vertigo imprint is gone. It was the best thing about DC. While Sandman actually started before the Vertigo imprint, it was still one of the imprint’s most well-known titles, second only to Hellblazer (which I have yet to read, sadly.) For years, these two comics defined the imprint’s desire to present well-written stories with mature themes.
Fables and Reflections is the second of the three volumes that actually collect short stories rather than focusing on arcs. (The others are Dream Country–vol. 3–and World’s End–vol. 8.) Because of this, you might think it can be skipped.  I disagree. If you are going to read Sandman, you have to read all of it, even the short stories.

Continue reading “Sandman Retrospective Part 6: Fables and Reflections”

Back to the Future Tribute: 15 Fun Facts and 10 Favorite Moments

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The Back to the Future trilogy turns 30 this year. I fondly remember going to the theater to see all three movies and enjoying every movie, even the third. So to celebrate this milestone, I’m writing three tribute articles, one for each movie in the franchise. Each tribute will have 15 fun facts and my top 10 favorite moments.

15 Fun Facts From Back To the Future

  1. As I’m sure you know, Huey Lewis and the News contributed two songs to the soundtrack: “The Power of Love” and “Back in Time”. Huey Lewis also makes a cameo. He’s the judge with the bullhorn when Marty’s band, the Pinheads, tries out for the Battle of the Bands. (“I’m afraid you’re just too darn loud.”)
  2. The high school scenes were filmed at Whittier High, Richard Nixon’s alma mater. The prom scenes were shot at a center run by a Methodist church.
  3. In the scene where Marty dresses up in the radiation suit to scare his dad, he plays a Van Halen song at full blast to scare George McFly. The song is “Donut City”, an instrumental song.
  4. Doc Brown’s 50’s house is the famous Gramble House in Pasadena, CA. The interior scenes were shot at the Blacker-Hill house, another house that is also owned by Proctor and Gramble. (the company makes Ivory Soap)
  5. The man who owns the malt shop in 50’s Hill Valley also voiced Aquaman in the Superfriends cartoons made by Hanna-Barbera in the 70’s and 80’s.
  6. Speaking of the malt shop, in the Wii video game based on the franchise, you go to Depression-era Hill Valley. In this era, the malt shop is a facility for the Sisters of Mercy (no, not the Goth Rock pioneers, the actual charity).
  7. Christopher Lloyd based his portrayal of Doc Brown on Leopold Stokowski, a conductor known for making big sweeping gestures while he conducted.  Lloyd imagined himself conducting the universe itself.
  8. In addition to Huey Lewis and the News, two other 80’s musicians contributed to the soundtrack.  Eric Clapton recorded “Heaven is One Step Away” and Lindsey Buckingham (of Fleetwood Mac fame) recorded “Time Bomb Town”.
  9. Robert Zemeckis tried to pitch the movie to Disney. They refused because of the scene where Lorraine says that kissing Marty is “like kissing my brother”. They thought it implied incest.
  10. Originally, the time machine was going to be a fridge, not  DeLorean. Bob Gates, the script’s writer, changed it to a DeLorean when he worried that kids would stuff themselves in fridges to pretend to go back in time. Three DeLoreans were used in filming the movie.
  11. When Doc Brown’s dog, Einstein, goes back in time, his stopwatch reads 1:21. This is also the number of gigawatts needed to power the flux capacitor.
  12. The clocks in Doc Brown’s lab are an homage to the 1960’s adaptation of HG Wells’s The Time Machine. Same goes for the red, yellow, and green LED read-outs on the DeLorean’s console.
  13. Old Man Peabody, the pine tree breeder, is named after Peabody, the time-travelling dog in the Bullwinkle and Rocky companion shorts “Peabody’s Improbable History”. His son is given the name Sheldon in the script (he’s the boy who thinks the DeLorean is actually a UFO because it looks like the UFO in his comic book and Marty is actually an alien), after the boy in the cartoons.
  14. Eric Stolz was the first choice to play Marty because Robert Zemeckis thought Michael J. Fox would be too busy with his role as Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties. On the Blu-Ray release, you can access footage with Stolz playing Marty.
  15. When all the kids are kicking George McFly around because of his kick me sign, you can see a sign on the wall reading “Bob Woodward for Class President”. Bob Woodward was the grip.

Continue reading “Back to the Future Tribute: 15 Fun Facts and 10 Favorite Moments”

The Silencing of Carly Fleischmann

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I recently read a book called Carly’s Voice, written by Arthur Fleischmann. It’s about his struggle to connect with his autistic daughter, Carly. My mom saw the book online and thought I should read it.
I was ecstatic to read it because like many on the autism spectrum, Carly is non-verbal. Because of this, her family did not know how to communicate with her. Arthur shares many of the struggles he had attempting to comprehend her. He put her up for Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), in an effort to curb many of her autistic behaviors. I’ve heard very few positive things about ABA, mostly because it’s used by people who do not realize that behaviors that are considered stimming, like rocking back and forth or flapping arms, are actually just part of being autistic. He even admits that he installed a security system to curb her frequent wandering.
Then one day, a breakthrough happened. Through the therapy, Arthur discovered that Carly could communicate by writing or texting. Arthur says that he finally felt as though he was a part of her world. (Um actually, Arthur, you were part of her world before that, too)
This discovery made Carly a celebrity, thanks to her getting a Facebook page. She even appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. What was once a quiet, enigmatic girl had slowly become a vibrant woman, eager to share her thoughts with anyone who would allow her time.
Sadly, recently things have taken a dark turn. Last year, Carly was given Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT), in the hopes of helping her cope with her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD. OCD is often co-morbid with autism. ECT is a controversial “therapy” consisting of administering electric shocks when a subject is not exhibiting acceptable behavior. It is an outgrowth of ABA that is sadly still practiced today, despite the harm it puts patients in. It is most infamously practiced at the Judge Rotenberg Center,which is funded by Autism Speaks itself. Lydia Brown, who has a blog called Autistic Hoya, has written several articles about the horrible facility, in an effort to raise awareness so that it will be shut down. The Autism Advocacy Network (ASAN) has a four-part article on their site written by a survivor of the Center named Jennifer. I agree with Lydia Brown that this facility should be shut down. Because of this so-called therapy, all the work that unlocked Carly’s potential has now been undone. Last December, Carly broke the silence and posted to her Facebook page a status that was nearly unintelligible. The “therapy” had damaged the area of her brain associated with language. She is now unable to communicate, neither verbally nor non-verbally. People are now angry with her father, and with good reason. I’m not saying he deserves all this anger directed at him, but I can understand the anger. He continuously tells people on the page that everything is fine. No, Mr. Fleischmann, everything is NOT fine. She is crying for help, and it is all your fault. All in your efforts to make her “normal”. This is why ASAN’s motto is “Nothing About Us Without Us”. If you are going to help autistic people, you are supposed to listen to them, and NOT the way Autism Speaks pretends to.
Perhaps there is still hope. Let us all pray that she recovers from the torture she has received and does not retreat into the darkness. Humans need to communicate, either verbally or non-verbally. I want to hear her voice once more.